Anita Cerquetti (April 13, 1931) is an Italian dramatic soprano who had a short career in the 1950s.
Cerquetti was born in Montecosaro, near Macerata, Italy. She originally studied violin and trained eight years with Luigi Mori. After a mere one year of vocal study at the Conservatory of Perugia, she made her operatic debut in Spoleto in 1951 as Aida. She sang all over Italy, notably in Florence as Noraime in Les Abencérages under Carlo Maria Giulini in 1956,in the Italian version "Gli Abencerragi", and as Elvira in Ernani under Dimitri Mitropoulos in 1957. Her Teatro alla Scala debut was in 1958 as Abigaille in Nabucco. She also sang on RAI in a wide variety of roles, such as Elcia in Mosè in Egitto, Mathilde in Guglielmo Tell and Elena in I vespri siciliani.
Cerquetti made headlines in January 1958 when she replaced "in extremis" the ailing Maria Callas in Norma, at the Rome Opera House. She was already singing the role at the San Carlo in Naples. She commuted between the two cities to honor both engagements for several weeks. This "tour de force" won her great acclaim, but had serious effects on her health. Shortly afterward she started withdrawing little by little from the stage until her complete retirement in 1961, aged only 30.
Cerquetti made only two commercial recordings, both for Decca in 1957, a recital of Italian opera arias and a complete La Gioconda with Mario del Monaco, Ettore Bastianini, Giulietta Simionato and Cesare Siepi under the incisive baton of Gianandrea Gavazzeni. Among her "pirated" recordings is a 1958 Aida from Mexico City, with Flaviano Labò, Nell Rankin, Cornell MacNeil, Fernando Corena and Norman Treigle. The Rome Norma of 1958 with Franco Corelli is also available. In 1996, she sang and talked in Jan Schmidt-Garre's film Opera Fanatic. A recording of Don Carlo from Florence 1956 featuring Cerquetti as Elizabetta is available from Melodram.
- Alain Paris,Dictionnaire des Konferenzdolmetschern et de l'Auslegung musicale au XX siècle(2 Bde.), Ed. Robert Laffont (Bouquins, Paris 1982, 4. edn. 1995, 5. Edn 2004). ISBN 2-221-06660-X
- Roland Mancini und Jean-Jacques Rouveroux, (orig. H. und J. Rosenthal Warrack, französische Ausgabe),Guide de l'opéra, Les indispensables de la musique (Fayard, 1995). ISBN 2-213-59567-4
- Allmusic.com, Erik Eriksson.
- The Last Prima Donnas, by Lanfranco Rasponi, Alfred A Knopf, 1982. ISBN 0-394-52153-6